A Chromebook! A delightful little internet machine, indeed. And delightfully simple to get started on.

Setting up your Chromebook is literally a three step process, and that’s only if you include “turn it on” as one of the steps. Ready? Here you go:

1. Turn it on.
2. Choose your language, connect it to your Wi-Fi network, and sign into your Google account.
3. Choose a profile picture or icon (I’d go with an icon, but I’m shy).

OK, that’s it: you’re done. Life with a Chromebook after that is simply a matter of collecting the apps you need. It already comes with Calendar, Google Drive, the full suite of Google Docs applications, Google Play Music, Hangouts, and Chrome remote desktop. You can find any extra apps in the Chrome Web Store.

If you’re sharing your Chromebook with others in your household, you can add more users from the login screen. You can also give friends the option to log is as guests when they come over and need to check their email. For guests, no setup is required—just choose “Login as guest” from the login screen.

Oh, and you might have heard that Chromebooks only work when they’re hooked up to the internet. That’s not quite true; there are plenty of Chrome apps that have an offline mode as well, including Gmail Offline, Google Drawings, and even Android Apps from Google Play (although you may want to tread lightly, since mobile apps don’t always work perfectly on the laptop). Just in case you’re stuck in a no-Wi-Fi zone, make sure to load up on a few of these desktop-bound apps right away.

This setup guide was updated in December 2019